Friday 14 December 2018
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Why Is English So Hard To Learn As A Second Language

Why Is English So Hard To Learn As A Second Language

It would not be too far-fetched, these days, to think about studying another language.  As a matter of fact, in today’s highly interconnected world, learning more than language is almost a requirement.  But even if you did draw that conclusion, what language would you learn?

Well, if you look are considering another language for the purposes of furthering your professional life, you might be surprised to learn that English is actually the [unofficial] language of international business. As a matter of fact, approximately 500 million people speak English as a second language.

But here is the funny thing: while English might be the preferred shared tongue of choice for many throughout the world, it is actually one of the most difficult languages to learn (as a second language), even in a skilled Robotel esl-lab.

And here is why:


English grammar is complicated.  In fact, it is so complicated that native English speakers often ignore the rules.  A surprising number of languages spoken throughout world have simpler grammar rules and structure than English, even languages that appear much harder to learn.  English can have odd sentence structure, irregular verb conjugations, syntax anomalies, and other illogical sequences that are very hard for a non-native speaker.


Most languages stick to their roots: Latin, Germanic, etc. English is, as I was surprised to learn, considered Germanic in root. That might be fine if so many words in use today weren’t Latin cognates or follow some other Romance language rule.


Because of these shared roots, English has also adopted many pronunciations that often seem to contradict each other. Consider the two ways to say the word “read” (between present and past tense, for example); or the differences between “dough,” “tough,” and “through.” What about the silent “k” in “know” or the silent “c” in “truck;” or the difference between “fried” and “friend” (which also sounds like “trend”).


Perhaps it has more to do with British colonization than with language adoption, but English is also quite a bastardized language, with each English-speaking region of the world developing their own slang words and phrases.  Some of these terms develop organically from colloquial dialog while others are somewhat deliberate, terms that are derived out of a necessity to understand or define something new.